Gallery

 Early Instruments, Carvings, Frames and Roses

THE VIHUELA DE MANO     

       The Vihuela de mano is the predecessor of the guitar and was popular in Renaissance Spain at the time that the Lute was the equivalent instrument in the rest of Europe. It developed from the generic Vihuela (Viola), which could be bowed (de arco), plucked with a plectrum (de peñula) or played with the fingers or hand (de mano). Although the pear shaped lute was derived from the Arabic Ud (lute=el Ud) and spread to the rest of Europe, in Spain the Viola forms with its characteristic figure 8 configuration, became the instrument of choice and developed into the bowed viol and violin families, and plucked guitar and vihuela families of instruments. In Spain 6 famous composers called Vihuelistas wrote music for the instrument. Some stipulated that the compositions could be played on the Vihuela, Harpa or keyboard. Many of their compositions are still popular on the Spanish and Classical guitar.

               The “Paris Vihuela” is unusual for its large size which seems to suggest that it was not designed to be a playing instrument, even though the replica I made was played as a bass instrument in a consort performance at a concert to showcase the instruments made by students at the London College of Furniture, where I studied my instrument making. Click on the link to see the detailed photos and information on the Paris Vihuela replica.

Anthony Rooley, Director and founder of The Consort of Musicke and the London Early Music Centre playing the unfinished replica of the Paris Vihuela

Anthony Rooley, Director and founder of The Consort of Musicke and the London Early Music Centre playing the unfinished replica of the Paris Vihuela

The Vihuelas in this gallery are all playable, standard size instruments made for customers during my time as a Luthier in London, Laguna Beach, CA and New Mexico.

 

Vihuela, London

Vihuela, London

Small Vihuela in Plumwood, Ebony, Spruce with parchment Rose. Based on the Diaz 4 course guitar, Portugal Property of Vanessa Paloma, Morocco. Front view

Small Vihuela in Plumwood, Ebony, Spruce with parchment Rose. Based on the Belchior Dias 4 course guitar, Portugal
Property of Vanessa Paloma, Morocco. Front view and detail of ebony bridge

Small Vihuela in Plumwood, Ebony, Spruce with parchment Rose. Based on the Diaz 4 course guitar, Portugal Property of Vanessa Paloma, Morocco. Back view

Small Vihuela in Plumwood, Ebony, Spruce with parchment Rose. Based on the Belchior Dias 4 course guitar, Portugal
Property of Vanessa Paloma, Morocco. Back view

 

Detail of ebony bridge on Small Plumwood Vihuela

Vihuela, New Mexico

Vihuela, New Mexico

Vihuela, New Mexico

Vihuela, New Mexico

Rolando Baca, Albuquerque, and his Vihuela

Rolando Baca, Albuquerque, NM and his Vihuela, and its rose – pearwood, gilded parchment with surrounding ebony and ivory rosette

 

Studio photos of the Paris Vihuela. Photos Gerry Young, London

Studio photos of the Paris Vihuela. Photos Gerry Young, London

LUTES, ORPHARIONS AND BANDORAS

                      These Renaissance instruments are copies of original instruments in European museums or, in the case of the Bandora, for which there are no known surviving originals, designed on the basis of an original, in this case, the Orpharion. The Lute was played as a solo instrument and evolved its form through the Renaissance into the Baroque period where it became a solo instrument for which composers such as J.S.Bach wrote suites. It also became a Continuo instrument alongside Viols and the harpsichord. The Lute, and the wire strung Bandora and Orpharion were also played in Consort music, along with  Viols, the Cittern, Flute or Recorder and were the “Garage Band” of the Renaissance. The solo instruments like the Lute, Orpharion and Voice also accompanied a full repertoire of compositions such as the Lute songs of John Dowland and others, many of which were played and sung as consort pieces. Madrigals also were included in this category. The Lute was tuned with pairs of strings called courses, the top course sometimes consisting of a single string. Strings were made of gut. So were the tied frets.

Lutes:

My first lute, a copy of a 10 course lute owned by The Lute Society, UK, after Mattheus Pocht and Georg Edlinger.

My first lute, a copy of a 10 course lute owned by The Lute Society, UK, after Mattheus Pocht and Georg Edlinger.

Lute made for Harvey Malloy, Laguna Beach, CA

Lute made for Harvey Malloy, Laguna Beach, CA

Various Lutes

Various Lutes

Lute pegbox

Lute pegbox, Ebony pegs, and veneer on Cherry core

Lute rose

Lute rose

The Orpharion:

 

 

The Orpharion was played as a solo or consort instrument. It had 9 pairs (called courses) of metal strings and was tuned like the Lute. It could substitute for the Lute and was developed later in the Renaissance period as a result of new wire stringing technology. The slanting frets were of brass and also reflected developments or changes in the technology and relationship of temperament. Whereas the Lute and Vihuela had frets of gut that were tied on to the neck and could be moved up or down to accommodate for slight changes in the configuration of different scales, the fixed metal frets determined the keys in a more rigid manner. Twisted wire strings of brass or bronze constituted the lower courses and the upper strings were made of bronze, iron and eventually steel as the technology developed. The only extant Orpharion we know of was made by Francis Palmer. an Englishman and is in a museum in Denmark. These instruments were popular during the time of Queen Elizabeth 1st and were played in the court and spread from England to the rest of Europe.

A copy of the Palmer Orpharion and rose (Pearwood and parchment)

A copy of the Palmer Orpharion and rose (Pearwood and parchment)

The Palmer Orpharion, back. Plumwood and Sycamore

The Palmer Orpharion, back. Plumwood and Sycamore

The Palmer Orpharion Studio photos. Photo Gerry Young

The Palmer Orpharion
Studio photos. Photo Gerry Young

The Bandora:

The Bandora was a large version of the Orpharion, also invented in Elizabethan England and was used to fill in the continuo or bass section of the consort music. As there are no extant Bandoras, the ones below were designed on the basis of the Orpharion by scaling them up to a larger size.

Bandora back and detail of a carved head

Bandora back and detail of a carved head

Another Bandora and detail of a carved head

Another Bandora and detail of a carved head

In the lower photo, Jacob Lundburg is trying out his new Bandora in my workshop beside the London Early Music Center

In the lower photo, Jacob Lundburg is trying out his new Bandora in my workshop beside the London Early Music Center. That’s me in the upper photo, playing the Lute beside the Paris Vihuela replica at an invitational exhibition of Instrument Makers in Jerusalem.

Carvings, Roses and Inlays:

Rose Carving

Rose Carving

Rose carved into Oriel 23 Round Back Travel harp.

Rose carved into Oriel 23 Round Back Travel harp.

Another Rose Carving

Another Rose Carving

Carved Rose

Carved Rose

Ceanne Rose carved and inlaid into Walnut neck of a custom Lorien 30 Floor harp

Ceanne Rose carved and inlaid into Walnut neck of a custom Lorien 30 Floor harp

Celtic knotwork heart carved and inlain into a custom Raphael26  Claro Walnut Therapy harp. Made of Boxwood

Celtic knotwork heart carved and inlain into a custom Raphael26 Claro Walnut Therapy harp. Made of Boxwood

The inlay in the harp neck

The inlay in the harp neck

Flower of Life Rose

Flower of Life Rose

Lute Rose carved into the soundboard

Lute Rose carved into the soundboard

The Little Minstrel and custom Gothic Roses.

The Little Minstrel and custom Gothic Roses.

Frames, and other creations:

 

 

Details: Custom frame for Kimberly Webber Triptych

Working on Carved Frame for Triptych. Reuben Medina demonstrates use of router.

Working on Carved Frame for Triptych. Reuben Medina demonstrates use of router at workshop in Questa NM

Circular Frame for Zenon Stain glass piece

Circular Frame for Zenon Stain glass piece

Frame for "The Portal" Made for Zenon Michalak's gallery opening, The Portal Gallery in Sedona

Frame for “The Portal”
Made for Zenon Michalak’s gallery opening, The Portal Gallery in Sedona

 

 

 

 

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. richlyn mcarthur
    Jun 06, 2014 @ 15:06:35

    Breathtakingly Beautiful

    Reply

  2. Jayn Stewart
    Aug 02, 2016 @ 10:54:00

    Fascinating instruments and beautiful roses, Raphael. Elegant.

    Reply

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